PLDT yielded the spotlight to Nxled in a tight opening set clash but ran the show the rest of the way as the High Speed Hitters annexed a 22-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-20 victory over the Chameleons to move to joint third in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference elimination round on Thursday at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
Undeterred by the Chameleons’ strong showing in the early going, the High Speed Hitters shifted gears in the second frame and in the next two, showcasing their power, precision and finesse while leaving their opponents struggling to keep up on their way to a one-hour and 46-minute victory.
It was PLDT’s third straight win after dropping its opening day game to sister team Cignal in four as it caught up with idle Chery Tiggo at third while inflicting the Chameleon’s their third straight defeat after blasting the Gerflor Defenders in three last Oct. 15 to launch their maiden campaign in the league organized by Sports Vision.
“We were able to adjust in time after a slow start. We finally got our rhythm back when it mattered most,” said PLDT’s seasoned playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan, referring to the High Speed Hitters’ showing in the opening frame that saw them surrender three aces and giving up eight unforced errors.
PLDT coach Rald Ricafort also singled out his wards’ shaky start that snapped their six-set streak following shutout victories over the Akari Chargers and the Farm Fresh Foxies.
The High Speed Hitters did re-group in the second frame and in the next two that had them cruising to victories although they wavered a bit in the fourth, enabling the Chameleons to save four match points before Rachel Austero halted their run and closed it out with a kill.
Fil-Canadian Savanah Davison unloaded 20 attack points and finished with 21 markers while Erika Santos fired 17 points after a five-point output against the Foxies last Oct. 24 and Honey Royse added 13 markers for the High Speed Hitters, who overpowered the Chameleons, 67-35, after winning the spiking duel by just three in the first set.
Mika Reyes and Dell Palomata took care of the middle and churned out a pair of eight-pointers while Austero and Mean Mendrez finished with three markers apiece in limited stints as Ricafort also leaned on his bench depth to put away their young rivals’ challenge.
Dimaculangan anchored the team’s romp with 20 excellent sets, 10 more than counterpart Kamille Cal, to earn the game’s top honors.
While the High Speed Hitters turned it around, the Chameleons spun into one struggling unit after upstaging their more fancied rivals in the first frame, unable to regain their bearing and explosiveness, their intensity conspicuously missing in the next three.
Lycha Ebon, who delivered the bulk of her 11-point effort in the first 28 minutes, struggled to find her range in the next three sets, while Chiara Permentilla finished with seven markers and Krich Macaslang and Judith Abil matched six-point outputs after a fine display of teamwork and guts in the opening set.